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My siblings and I are all basically savers, though with different thresholds and different risk tolerance. One brother is a hardware guy in Silicon Valley; he's the one with the most need for speed and willingness to take risks. He spent more when he was in his 20s, learned the hard way that credit card debt stinks, and then bought a condo right before the housing market crash and took a bath. He will likely still end up with the highest net worth in the long run just from having been the first IT guy on the ground at the startup that IPOed pretty well.

The other brother does poverty policy work in Wisconsin with a wife who is a public defender at the appellate level and two little boys. They have enough money to live a nice life in a low-cost-of-living place, which is the intelligent choice they made when she finished law school and he finished graduate school. And he can't help but be an entrepreneur. His first business was a biergarten that seems to be doing well. I'm sure there will be others -- he has an abundance of energy for projects.

Our sister is disabled and thus has a different set of issues. She loves to buy people presents, but does so carefully and always ends up with a little extra money after her Christmas shopping, which she puts in her savings account. It builds up for a while and then she gives that excess to places like Ronald McDonald house.

We have learned, since Mom passed away in April, that Mom refused to do a lot of charitable work because she wanted her money to go to us kids. She also worked hard to make sure we each had a good starting point, financially speaking, and with Dad's hard work in the business, that paid off better than either of them would have guessed. Which means that none of us really need her money, though we all appreciate it. So we'll build for our own kids, those of us who have them, and otherwise help the communities around us.

One thing that I have learned out of all this is that setting up kids financially early in their lives is far more helpful to them than leaving them a nest egg later. Obviously this needs to be balanced against your own need for a nest egg for retirement. But saving so that the kids can inherit is maybe not the best strategy.

ThyPeace, hm. Gifts. Hm.
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